A Year in Pictures

Friday, January 1, 2016

It has been a year full of life. Some days I think, "my life is so weird and nobody would believe me if I wrote all this down" but most of the time this just feels like normal life to me.  I struggle to find the words to make readable what seems so normal to me, but what is so much less ordinary to those reading, hence my lack of writing. My friends are good at encouraging and pushing me to pen more of my life for you. I'll see how it goes.

For now, here's a year in review.

In January my dear friend from midwifery school, Kendra and her husband Ryan came to visit. While they were here they helped give the birth room a facelift, and Kendra caught a few babies and covered at the Maternity Center while Tara, Beth and I flew to FL for Paige's (Tara's daughter) wedding.
The first time we've worked together since the Philippines 

Birth room facelift



Florida for Paige's wedding


Heartline Ministries began twenty-six years ago. When they were first established, they operated as a small orphanage and processed adoptions. Over the years Heartline helped place around 300 children for adoption. After the earthquake in 2010, Heartline began to focus their efforts on orphan prevention while they phased out the adoption portion of their ministry. Many of the children who were adopted through Heartline Ministries are now grown and several have returned to Haiti to visit. In January, I had the privilege of traveling to Pestel with a girl who had returned to Haiti to meet her biological siblings and see the place where she was born. Getting out of the city of Port-au-Prince and seeing parts of rural Haiti was definitely a highlight for me this past year. 








February was our most quiet month at the Maternity Center. We only had one birth and got tons of great sleep! In March, my parents and good family friend from Texas, Zac, came to visit. While they were here, Zachariah the technical messiah, as we call him, helped us take our family planning charting system digital. Dad worked on things, like he does everywhere he goes, and mom spent time doing Maternity Center things with me. I loved having them here!






Working on our electronic charting system

Driving around PAP with dad...I think it was a stretch for him.

April was a very busy month at the Maternity Center. Doctor Jen came to visit for a few weeks and hand delivered our new ultrasound machine that we received through a grant. Troy, Tara's husband was out of the country during that time, so we took advantage of the time to have lots of sleepovers. Each night we would get a couple hours of sleep before the phone would ring and we'd rush over to the Maternity Center to deliver a baby. It started to get a little comical when the scene kept replaying itself every night. 









In May we continued the Maternity Center facelift by redecorating one of the prenatal exam rooms.  Towards the end of the month, I was able to fly to Texas to celebrate Ruthie's 2nd birthday. Ruthie was one of the last babies I delivered in Texas before moving to Haiti in 2013. Her parent's have been life-long friends of mine and it was very special to get to celebrate with them!
After a quick trip to Texas, I flew to Lookout Mountain, GA to stay with my sister, Leah and brother-in-law Nate while we awaited the arrival of my nephew Boaz. It ended up being a much longer wait than we anticipated, but those two weeks were a sweet time of rest for me in the mountains. 



Waiting on Baby Bo


After Bo made his early June arrival,  I made a quick trip to North Carolina to visit family and meet my brother's newest baby, Jericho, before returning to Haiti.  A week after returning to Haiti, my niece, Kristin, came to visit me for three weeks. I loved having her here!

Meeting Jericho

My SIL, Jenny, and nephew, Jericho

 
Kristin loved the babies!


In July we had our only ambulance birth of the year. My favorite blogger wrote about the birth here and here. The rest of July was filled with the somewhat normal and uneventful Maternity Center activity. 



Asline and her ambulance baby



From late July to early August we had seven first time moms deliver with us. What we anticipated to be a lot of extra hours of laboring (because first time moms) ended up being a really smooth, uncomplicated string of births. I'm so proud of each of these moms and how amazing they have done! 
In July we said goodbye to two of our Materntiy Center staff members. Glenda returned to Canada after working with us for a year and Mica moved three hours away to begin her year-long skilled birth attendant training with Midwives For Haiti. 
In late August, I flew to North Carolina for the weekend to meet up with my whole family. It had been three years since we had all been together and there have been several family members added to the family (via marriage and birth) since the last time we were all together. We celebrated my dad's 56th birthday together and had a baby shower for my brother and SIL who were expecting in October. 






September was a pretty normal, business as usual sort of month, relatively speaking. One of the ladies in the prenatal program gave birth to a tiny little girl at 26 weeks. She lived a few days before passing away. Haiti hospitals do not have the same equipment and technology in their NICUs as we are privileged to have in the U.S. We estimate a baby would need to be between 30-32 weeks to survive here.
During our Friday new patient interviews, we identified twins easily with our clear new ultrasound machine! The mother is now in the prenatal program and due spring of 2016.




October was a full month filled with lots of excitement. I flew to California to meet up with dear friends who took me to Disney for my birthday. It was a little bit of reverse culture shock and a whole lot of fun! 
At the Maternity Center, we were in awe of the way the world showed up to love on Haiti through a Love Flash Mob by Momastery. Because of the generosity of those who gave to the Maternity Center through the Love Flash Mob, we're looking forward to being able to grow in 2016. 
October also brought the excitement of learning new ultrasound skills! An ultrasound tech from Hope Imaging came to do a three day intensive ultrasound class with us. We are excited to be able to offer more comprehensive ultrasounds to the women we care for and are looking forward to more training with Hope Imaging in the future. 
My brother, Elijah, and SIL, Hannah, gave birth to their first baby boy, North.  I haven't been able to meet him yet, but from all the pictures, I think he's pretty sweet! 


                             







                                


                                           

                                


November was a busy birth month at the Maternity Center. The babies came in typical baby fashion of more than one at a time. In mid November we had 4 babies in thirty hours followed by the very fun, surprise engagement of our dear friend Dr. Jen.
We typically celebrate holidays here in big ways. My sweet friend and co-middie, Beth, cooks for days to make holidays feel real and help keep the homesickness at bay. This Thanksgiving was not an exception, but we enjoyed our turkey and gravy at the Maternity Center since babies decided to come in groups on that day too!


                            









                             













December has been a month with a lot packed into it. I'm not sure I even remember all the things.  I spent a little time obsessing over making the perfect sugar cookie, decorated my miniature tree, blared Christmas music and baked a few days away to bring a little Christmas spirit to this Caribbean Island.
Construction has started on the second floor of the Maternity Center. We are hoping it will be complete by March, but because Haiti, we are holding loosely to our expectations! Once the second floor is complete, we can increase the number of women in the prenatal program from 50 at a time to 65. 
We had births in groups again. One of the mothers in our prenatal program, Elena, went preeclamptic at 36 weeks. She was transferred to the hospital and induced. The baby was oxygen deprived during birth and lived for almost three weeks in the NICU with signs of significant brain damage. Elena's baby boy passed away last Friday. Please pray for her as she is grieving the loss of her little boy. 
Another mother in our prenatal program, Phenise, who works for Heartline, gave birth to a baby boy named Givens. We anticipated he would have a neural tube defect at birth due to some unreassuring ultrasound results during pregnancy. Givens was born with Spina Bifida. He received surgery last week to close the opening in the base of his spine. He is still in the hospital recovering from surgery. He may need another surgery in the next few months to place a shunt to redirect excess spinal fluid and prevent a build up of fluid around his brain. He is doing well and I'm so grateful he was able to get surgery so quickly after birth. 
Two weeks ago we had a sweet baby girl, Ala├»sha, born at 33 weeks. She's tiny, but doing wonderfully. Her mom, Sherly is committed and doing wonderfully caring for such a tiny little love. 
Christmas Day was peaceful and perfect. Beth made her wonderful holiday meal and we gathered at her house to celebrate together. The days since Christmas have been quiet on the Maternity Center front and it has felt like the perfect Christmas break. 













"In the year to come, don’t seek perfection, don’t even give it a thought. Instead, seek Jesus, and watch a Master restorer do a miraculous work in your soul." Lori Stanley Roeleveld



Peace to you and your loved ones as you journey into the New Year. 

Love, 

Beth

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